One of the hockey skills which is often neglected, or isn’t taught as effectively as it should is how to receive a pass. Many young hockey players either have the puck deflect off to an opposing player because they aren’t cushioning the puck, or dribble off the end of their stick because they are cushioning the puck too much.
Receiving a Head-On Pass
One factor in receiving a pass effectively is not having the stick too close to your body when you receive. The stick blade will tend to pivot when you cushion the pass, and slide off the toe of the blade. If you overcompensate when that happens, and have a death grip on your stick, the puck will bounce off a rigid stick like it does the boards. Without much control over the direction of the bounce.
Receiving the pass with your hands away from your body is more effective, and as the puck hits the blade of the stick, your top hand can push down slightly, your bottom hand comes toward your body, and the puck has a soft, but controlled reception with control. The blade of the stick it covering the puck so now the player has complete control over whether they
- Take a shot
- Start stickhandling the puck towards the goal
- Pass again to another open player, like in a power play pass-around
Receiving a Pass from the Side
When novice players take a pass from the side, they will often arc their stick to cushion the pass, and when their stick opens up, they lose the puck. A more effective pass receiving strategy is to receive the pass with the stick just ahead of the foot closest to the passer, and shorten the cushioning movement to just in front of your body so you can stick handle without giving up the puck. Using your weight transfer as you receive the puck you can prepare yourself to start skating up the ice toward the goal.
Receiving a Pass on the Backhand
You might be a little uncomfortable or out of your comfort zone when receiving a pass on the backhand, however this technique is much like with a side pass in that you make first contact just ahead of your closest foot to the passer, cushion the puck just enough to keep it in control and cover with your stick blade and skate, pass or shoot accordingly.
These three pass reception techniques can help a beginner or experienced player to take in a puck more effectively, and be able to turn the pass into a shot, pass or stick handle and skate movement much more fluidly.